Judith Martin

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Judith Martin (September 13, 1938 - ) American advice columnist (under the pseudonym "Miss Manners")


Civilized life begins with a boiled egg sitting upright in an egg cup.
Miss Manners column "Egg On Their Face", June 19, 2005
Dear Miss Manners: What about Easter? I suppose you have etiquette rules that apply to Easter Day?
Gentle Reader: Certainly, and when the Day of Judgment comes, Miss Manners will have etiquette rules to apply to that, as well.
Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior
Dear Miss Manners: What should I say when I am introduced to a homosexual "couple?"
Gentle Reader: "How do you do?" "How do you do?"
Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior
Dear Miss Manners: What is the proper way to eat potato chips?
Gentle Reader: With a knife and fork. A fruit knife and an oyster fork, to be specific. Good heavens, what is the world coming to? Miss Manners does not mind explaining the finer points of gracious living, but she feels that anyone without the sense to pick up a potato chip and stuff it in their face should probably not be running around loose on the streets.
Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior
Miss Manners doubts that there is anything in the world like an elegantly dressed Bostonian lurching across the room and diving face first into a bowl of guacamole dip while simultaneously disengaging her bodice from her bosom. Therefore, Miss Manners has a wee bit of trouble preparing a general rule for dealing with this eventuality.
Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior
If you put together all the ingredients that naturally attract children - sex, violence, revenge, spectacle and vigorous noise - what you have is grand opera.
Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior
Traditionally, a luncheon is a lunch that takes an eon.
Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior


  • If written directions alone would suffice, libraries wouldn't need to have the rest of the universities attached.
  • You can deny all you want that there is etiquette, and a lot of people do in everyday life. But if you behave in a way that offends the people you're trying to deal with, they will stop dealing with you...There are plenty of people who say, 'We don't care about etiquette, but we can't stand the way so-and-so behaves, and we don't want him around!' Etiquette doesn't have the great sanctions that the law has. But the main sanction we do have is in not dealing with these people and isolating them because their behavior is unbearable.
    • Interview, 1995
  • "Dear Miss Manners: How is a hat correctly worn?
"Gentle Reader: Same as always; on the head."
  • "Dear Miss Manners: Does joint custody mean I always have to be polite to someone I can’t stand?
"Gentle Reader: Yes. But think of the benefits. You will set an unparalleled example of civilized behavior to your children and impress your admirers as one to be trusted even under adversity."
  • There are three possible parts to a date, of which at least two must be offered: entertainment, food, and affection. It is customary to begin a series of dates with a great deal of entertainment, a moderate amount of food, and the merest suggestion of affection. As the amount of affection increases, the entertainment can be reduced proportionately. When the affection IS the entertainment, we no longer call it dating. Under no circumstances can the food be omitted.
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